Youth Services Law

Charges Dropped in MRSA Death

Posted In Illness, Youth Camps

A court has dismissed all criminal charges stemming from a teenager's death in a "boot camp" program. The 15-year-old died from an untreated staph infection. I missed earlier reports about this case, including this one giving some unverified details of the the child's death. If the allegations are true, it seems that someone should have at least checked his temperature. I am sympathetic to the difficulty in determining whether a child "feels bad," but fevers are hard to fake. 

I have not seen any reports showing that any of the staff had the intent necessary for a criminal conviction. The civil case that remains, however, will have a lot of jury appeal.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) is quickly becoming a common, almost epidemic, occurrence in youth camps, schools, and day care centers. We are long past the time when caregivers could claim that it is an unusual disease that never would have occurred to anyone as a possibility. MRSA is too dangerous a disease to leave untreated. The CDC, for example, has found a fivefold increase in deaths where a child had both the flu and MRSA.

Every organization that cares for children needs to be familiar with the symptoms of MRSA, and the CDC's website about controlling its spread.

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